“The Only Thing That Bothers Everyone, Is Geopolitics”

Co-founder of “Netology-group” Maxim Spiridonov interviewed the founder of “Right.ru” Alexey Pelevin. Twice a month, the General Director of “Netologia-group” and host of the podcast “Unitology” Maxim Spiridonov speaks with Russian entrepreneurs in the sphere of digital technologies and the Internet.

Edition vc.ru publishes summaries of the interview is about what the lawyer is able to replace artificial intelligence and what the Russian sector of the legal technology ahead of us. Born in Kaliningrad in 1981. What brought you into legal studies?.

In 2002, I came out of the walls “Artemiy Lebedev Studio” and founded his Studio, “Park”. We were kind of rockers from design, doing festival work. At the end of the companys existence I am seriously interested in user experience design — although back then and there was no such term — and made several interesting projects, including Fights and “Renaissance Insurance”.

But in 2008 I realized that to continue to engage in business of the client, I do not pull. The activity is exhausting, it requires the ongoing engagement. I wanted to capitalize on their skills. In that time I met my future partner (Dmitry Chirakadze — vc.ru); he was a lawyer.

We decided. Why not to develop a competitor service “Consultant Plus”. System used and enjoyed by many. But we did not like neither the interface nor the model of distribution. We thought that we would be able to do better.

And in the same year opened the company “the Right.ru”. A bold step to take to raise a rival market player, who stands firmly on his feet. We were young and reckless.

Now the project is half frozen. We dont want to compete with the “Consultant Plus”, dont see prospects here. And continue to develop in very different legal tech vertical. How began your business?.

First of all lets talk about the part that is called “Electronic justice”. In 2010, we launched the arbitration proceedings and brought together all the arbitration courts of the Russian Federation in the cloud. Information about all trials is published online. Every day in Russia is about twenty thousand trials, and once the judge makes a decision, it immediately flies into our system.

Each year, the system uses about 12 million people, we might have half a million unique visitors. It is free for all citizens. For all time of its existence has accumulated approximately 20 million cases.

Analogues of our solutions anywhere in the world. As we studied the situation in many places, from China and Singapore to the United States. Every time we show how open our judicial system is how easy it is to access any judicial act all excited. In the US there is its analogue — PACER — but it does not cover all courts of the country. Everything else, its all the same, just for the money.

The cost of access to a single page document is $0,08. I believe that the moment we created a card file of arbitration cases, and began active development of legal tech in Russia. The main functions of lawyers in the largest companies began to change dramatically, and the business processes too.

In what direction?. The best. When we launched the index, we began to examine how major Russian companies automatiseret their legal activity. In 2010 there is a huge gaping gap.

Automation systems — ERP, CRM at enterprises in the first place introduced in the Finance, manufacturing, warehousing, marketing and sales. And the work of lawyers was considered supports, and no one ever tried to automate it. They had only a “Consultant Plus” Yes, Word Excel.

Meanwhile, the “Rosgosstrakh”, “Norilsk Nickel”, “Rosneft” annually reviewed tens of thousands of cases. Imagine that all of this is stored in Excel or on network drives, access to which will get anyone. We saw a niche. And in 2012, launched its first product — a Casebook.

It allows you to monitor a large number of arbitration cases, test contractors, to obtain information from sources such as FTS, FSSP, the system of public procurement. The solution for integrated working with other companies. It is designed for medium and large businesses?.

Although our system is used by a small company in which the Director-General may perform the duties of a lawyer, security and the chief accountant and the largest organizations in the country like “savings” or the same “Rosneft”. Whats the use of Casebook for small companies?.

We have a client — a distributor of alcoholic beverages. He ships the goods with deferred payment. The cargo is delivered from Moscow to Vladivostok by train three to four weeks. So, while their cars drove, the receiving party has submitted the claim about bankruptcy. Know our client about this scheme earlier, he would have to take action.

At least, not be deprived of the goods and not stood in line debtors. Or, imagine you work ten, twenty, fifty lawyers, and you need to establish a unified judicial calendar to understand who is in what meeting is attended by the. We do it automatically. Isolated cases of ticks — and is the judicial calendar, which is automatically updated in real time and notice to come to the phone.

I see that you had some skills in matters of law and justice. For many years I worked as UX designer and realized that to provide a quality user experience only if you accurately understand the subject area. Most UX designers, unfortunately, it is not deeply immersed in the issues.

Beautiful buttons on Dribbble is not UX design, and UI. You have an informational website “Right.ru” and SaaS platform Casebook. What other business units?.

Three of our key product is a Casebook, Caselook and Case.Pro. Together, they provide the opportunity to cover all the needs of a large law Department or law firm. Everyone decides their own tasks. What is needed Caselook?.

Its a search engine for the “litigators” — lawyers who are actively involved in litigation. Often a specialist you need to prepare a legal position, or to analyze the existing court practice session.

In Caselook implemented a search mechanism that allows a few clicks to find what you need among the 50 million documents. Not found a judicial act — subscribe to updates. As soon as he appears, you will receive a notification by email or within the system.

Or get the list from ten thousand judicial acts, and read them all do not want, then our mechanisms of artificial intelligence preclassification this huge selection and take out the only significant judicial acts that will make it easier to understand. What about Case.Pro?. Case.Pro is a case management system.

Something like CRM or ERP, only on the legal part. Work with legal Affairs is very similar to the classic project-management. Lawyers could use Jira or something similar. But these services dont solve their specific problems.

Were inside the Case.Pro has brought together the work with business, document, tasks, events, participants, timing, billing, invoicing. Recently, we comprehensively automated “MegaFon” company, which now employs about 170 lawyers. And using Case.Pro they were able to achieve such a level of efficiency that not only meet their needs but also provide services to external customers.

Certainly the introduction of solutions like your in the activities of a large company leads to a compression in units of the law. This is one of the most common objections we face in sales. Head of legal Department throws up his hands. “Im not ready to implement your system.

I had to cut a lot of people”. Yes, we can remove from the mass of routine transactions, which has hitherto been customary to manually perform. But in our country social orientation, not everyone is ready for this. But there are examples to the contrary.

“Mail Bank” (the Bank with the state participation “Unitology”) is one of the largest banks of Russia. However, it was only twenty lawyers. And they do a lot of work. Another Bank such employees would need hundreds.

By and large, in terms of economic turbulence that we have seen for almost ten years, it is clear. The worse the economy gets, the more work lawyers. And ever growing volume of cases will lie on the shoulders of the same lawyers, which means they will be forced to do more work, and dramatically fall its quality, or routine operations will be able to trust the automation systems. Then we can close more cases.

But with the introduction of automation, the downsizing is inevitable?. The main objectives of the client, when he introduces any automation system, is no staff reduction, and increased efficiency, fixing processes, increase their predictability, the introduction of a system of metrics. In most legal departments dont even know what indicators to assess the effectiveness of their work.

It so happens that lawyers do not know how many cases had been in production for what amount which ones require special attention. Comes, amid a troubled economic situation the legal market is feeling OK?.

When the economy is in turmoil, the volume of claims and fulfilment of obligations grow. This is a job for lawyers. How fast growing market?.

There is still no accurate assessment of the Russian legal market as a whole. In contrast to the us. Most analysts agree around $315 billion a year. But where most services have a law firm, and we have a lot of work to close a staff members of legal departments. This complicates the calculations.

Think about $1 billion a year is typed in. What you and your competitors are digitizing in the industry?. Most of the activities of a lawyer routine.

Standard forms, standard applications and templates of documents, duplicate cases in the pipeline. Take the case of subrogation (the mechanism where the right to claim compensation for the damage goes to the one who has compensated the damage — vc.ru) between insurance companies. They are now littered with arbitration courts, such cases will be brought hundreds of thousands a year.

But the dispute is not there, just needs a judicial act. Such procedures are an excellent avtomatiziruete. To collect the data and put it in one place, generate the text of the document and will only print, put in envelope and send.

A large portion of this routine in the work of lawyers?. About 85%. The remaining 15% complicated highly intellectual activity.

It works where a lawyer is not replaced by any neural networks and robots. How quickly digital technology can take them 85% with the human shoulders?. Tell them about US.

Indicators of the Russian market is not yet available, but the American is ahead of him for a year or two. Today, the average penetration rate of the technology on the U.S. legal services market is less than 25%. Can we call the legal services market in USA advanced. After all, the Americans are in the lead everywhere.

He is extremely heterogeneous. Something American companies have gone a little further we. Something — for example, in the automation of court activities, ahead we. In sales in the United States, we find firms that do everything on paper.

Daddy, steel lockers and no automation system. What is the level of penetration of high technologies in Russia?. A little less, on average, 15%.

But there is room to grow. And a good products on the market sorely lacking. Did the titans of the it industry dont apply to your field?.

Why do we start exactly when it started, and why was able to reach very large companies. We opened when I started to ride the dollar. It rose sharply.

Previously, we lost companies like SAP and Oracle. Big business realized that if you want automation, you must go to the leaders. Then started to work the policy of import substitution, and the dollar is no longer afford to purchase some industry solutions. Large Russian business began to look for something easier, cheaper, more interesting. We got this jet.

Of course, our products are much cheaper than the same SAP. Looks like youre in a trend, that you feel now the project management system, — in “consumers local post-development software”. Recently, colleagues who work in one of the “big four” (PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte, Ernst & Young and KPMG, the four worlds largest auditing and consulting company vc.ru), admitted to me that it is rapidly losing ground in terms of consulting and lose just cloud services.

Today SaaS companies in the b2b segment provide ready-made business processes cheaper. If before a, for example, bought SAP, wrote business processes, then they were introduced, now ready to take the cloud and are trying their business processes slightly to adjust for the opportunities that cloud gives.

Do you expect some revolution in the enterprise SaaS segment. Whether the same SAP EN masse to be replaced with something less bulky, more “nimble” and cheaper?. Was an interesting story. A while ago Avon has refused to implement SAP.

There was a contract seems to be more than $100 million. Just employees Avon did not like the interface of SAP. We see how SAP is trying to introduce new UI Kit. But still, its already outdated technology for scaling to implement some new features, unfortunately, the company itself has not left.

In any b2b system interface for me is in the first place. In the CRM or ERP system, where, on the one hand, there will be a lot of manual input, and on the other managerial control, people should be comfortable and easy to operate. How to post a photo in Instagram. How to start using iPhone.

How to develop the cloud infrastructure. We “Netology-group” introduced a huge number of solutions, mostly SaaS, as a rule, the best in the business. But there was a problem with their mutual integration. Will there be happiness will there be beautiful, easy fit designers?.

The decision in General long ago it is known. This integration bus, enterprise repository, unified data storage. I recently calculated. In my company we use more than twenty of cloud solutions to automate their activities.

And per month pay for all this 400-500 thousand rubles. This is what is called “patchwork” automation, although I think it is the most correct. Ive never seen a universal “harvester”, which could close all tasks.

Yes, SAP provides such an opportunity, but the performance and quality leave much to be desired. How is your international business and what expectations you have?. Two years ago, we thought that in the Russian market we will ever be crowded and boring.

Meanwhile, the American legal tech in 2020 promises to reach a volume of $15 billion. We began to explore the global market and try to understand if we use. And it turned out that our Case.Pro enough to localize, adapt and release it to other markets (in the US this system of case management, “CRM for lawyers”, sold under the brand Case.one — “Unitology”).

We opened an American office January 1, 2017, and at the end of August, it employed 16 people. They are engaged exclusively in the sales. Russian sales are very different from American, Russian and marketing from the American. But we already feel like there is a good idea. Surely they sell to us clients are connected.

We went on the stage scale. What you focus in Russia or abroad?. First of all, on our products.

No matter where to sell them. The main headache with which we are now faced is customer success, or “how to make our users happy”. In our solutions is not enough to engage the user, encourage him to register in the system to get money from him.

No need then for a very long time to accompany him, and constantly to involve. Here the mechanics are the same — that in Russia that in the United States. But with the opening of the American office we started a lot of interesting practices to carry out in our reality. I go to the other side.

What are your priorities as a Manager?. The main goal is to build a world-class company, the market leader in legal technologies. What we are doing.

World leader?. We have all the chances. As soon as well run the first thousand customers in the United States, will open an office in the UK. From there we will reach the Asian countries.

In the autumn we run large updates to the system. This one I have not done before. In particular, it will be possible voice input in case management. Youre just going to talk.

“Alexa, add two hours to such a client,” and Alexa will add. What might prevent your plan. The lack of money, people, expertise?.

The only thing that bothers everyone, and the Russians the most, its geopolitics. If we were in the same situation before 2008, we would have long ago ran forward. The relation to Russian in America is not that cool, but apparently now no one is interested in establishing friendly relations.

“Russian hackers” — a persistent cliché. Any meeting with a new client when everyone will know that I am Russian, I just ask. “And is it safe to leave with you phone, youre not a hacker?”. In the end — a bit of futuristics.

How to change your industry in the coming years. Now, with our products in their current form, we are able to predict the outcome of the court case with an accuracy of 82%. In the autumn we will show how the predicted probability of bankruptcy.

From companies such as Kira Plastinina, or “White Wind Digital”, we foresaw problems for eight months. The legal profession will not disappear. Of course, the robots will take care of all routine operations. And the lawyers will begin retraining.

Just look how fast it increases the excitement around the blockchain. And to serve all these ICO, you will need all existing intellectual resources. But even today, according to my observations, the head of the legal Department, and indeed a serious lawyer will not be able to climb the corporate ladder, without a line in the summary of the “I automated legal option”, “I increased the efficiency of the legal Department through implementation of various systems”.

This interview is concise output 312 of the fifth issue of the analytical program “Unitology”. Full version on Soundcloud.

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